Co-creating Economic and Social Value with Remote Sensing Data

Space has become an important part of our way of life today. Today, we have a large number of satellites available, which are making their valuable contribution in the development of different sectors, such as agriculture, defense, security, disaster management, communication, weather, navigation, education, etc.”

“We have to adopt modern technology to face the challenges of the future and bring positive changes in the standard of living of our people. All Indians should face the challenges of the future with confidence and feel safe, that is our goal.”

“The importance of space and satellite in the world is going to increase. Perhaps life would be incomplete without it. In such a situation, strengthening the safety of all these devices is equally important.”

These are the words of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi during his address to the countrymen after a successful test of anti-satellite weapon on March 27, 2019.

Prime Minister Modi has outlined the importance of space sector for economic and social development of the country on several other occasions.

Understanding the importance of Space technology for social and economic development of the country, the Government of India has always given impetus to the sector. India’s journey into harnessing the potential of space technology and remote sensing data began in the 1960s. An iconic image of a rocket cone being carted on a bicycle at the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station in Thiruvananthapuram in 1966 and satellite payload being carried on a bullock cart in 1981 clearly testifies our country’s seriousness towards enhancing its space capabilities.

Ever since then India’s space programme has grown steadily, achieving significant milestones. Launch of 104 satellites in one go through the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), Chandrayaan Mission, Mars Mission, Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), which can place over 4.5 tons of payload into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit, upcoming Gaganyaan mission are some of examples that glorifies India’s space story.

Presently, the government of India has an enormous investment plan in the sector. At present, ISRO’s annual budget has crossed ₹10,000 crore which is growing steadily. To fulfil the cumulative demand and taking learning from other countries the Government of India recently opened the sector for private players.

Need for Remote Sensing Data

The importance of Remote Sensing data has been well recognized. Even in the document ‘Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ that gave the world the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that have become synonymous with social, economic and environmental development around the world, the significance of Earth observation and geospatial information has been recognized as being critical for measuring, monitoring, reporting and achieving the SDGs.

In India, Remote Sensing data is extensively used by various government and private sector entities for urban planning, infrastructure development, agriculture, fisheries, disaster management, natural resource management and many more applications.

Over the years the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and its associated offices have worked closely with different government agencies and organizations in order to ensure remote sensing data is duly adopted for measuring, monitoring and achieving national development goals. They have also been providing critical remote sensing data to the private sector, which in turn works for a plethora of central and state agencies to achieve similar goals.

However, the private industry faces a number of challenges in optimally utilising remote sensing data for any project, given the current policy framework, institutional arrangements, lack of understanding of the full extent of remote sensing data application with the end users, lack of cohesive and developed ecosystem etc.

Formation of IN-SPACe

Realising the gap between what-is and what-can-be achieved through the use of Remote Sensing data in our country, the Government of India has recently made some key announcements.

On May 16th 2020, India’s Finance Minister, Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman announced that India’s private sector will now play a key role in augmenting India’s space programme, and that the government intends to share the facilities of the ISRO with the private sector. Following this statement, on June 24th 2020, the government approved the creation of a new body called Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre, or IN-SPACe that will work towards a greater involvement of the private industry, academic institutions and research organisations in India’s space sector. IN-SPACe will work to enhance the socio-economic use of space assets and activities, including access to space assets data and activities.

These announcements and initiatives are a welcome sign of change, and the Geospatial Industry in India is eagerly looking forward to collaborating and partnering with ISRO to leverage geospatial technologies for the larger socio-economic-environmental sustainability and development.

In this backdrop, the Association of Geospatial Industries (AGI), which is an industry-led non-profit non-government professional organization that represents the interests of geospatial industry in India and works towards the advancement of geospatial technologies and their applications, is organizing a webinar in association. If you are a Member of the Geospatial Industry, Geospatial Start-up, Not-for-profit professional, Central, State and Local Government personnel, Private consultant or if you are working for a system integrator or large consultant working on key government projects using geospatial information come and join us on 29th September, 2020, 2 PM onwards to understand the expectations and needs of the industry and start-ups from ISRO, and the capabilities that ISRO has to offer to the industry in return, which can establish channels of partnerships to stimulate growth in the adoption of geospatial information and development of geospatial industries.

Register now at